Q. What does HVAC stand for?
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning.
Q. What should I look for when choosing a new heater, heat pump or air conditioning unit?
Here are some general rules of thumb when you are ready to replace your existing equipment:
- Choose a manufacturer that has a good reputation for quality and durability.
- Choose a model that with a high efficiency rating to bring you better comfort and lower your seasonal energy bill.
- Choose the correct equipment size and system for your home.
- Don’t just buy a unit just because it is on sale and seems like a great deal at the time; do some research on the product or ask the installation representative for more product information.
- Finally, choose a reliable company with excellent customer satisfaction and a track record of service after the sale. Talk to your friends and neighbors. Check out contractor ratings and reviews online from organizations like Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau. Chances are, you’ll get plenty of recommendations for Crescenze Cooling & Heating.
Q. Is there anything I should check prior to calling for service?
Check to be sure that the air conditioner or furnace is plugged in. Check that the breakers and the disconnects are turned on and be sure the thermostat is set correctly. Also make a note of any strange noises or smells.
Q. It’s been years since I shopped for a new heating and cooling system. What changes in technology and equipment do I need to know about?
If you’re deciding on a new system and have not kept up with advances in the industry, you will be amazed at the number of choices that you have to make. Today’s comfort systems offer a surprising number of options and combinations – from individual heaters and air conditioners to integrated or “hybrid” systems. Systems can vary widely in terms of energy efficiency. The ability of systems to monitor conditions and adjust automatically has increased dramatically. And a wider variety of air quality add-ons are available than ever before.
Q. How do I know whether my heating and cooling equipment needs replacement or just repair?
Not an easy question to answer, but here are some factors to consider:
- The age of the current system. Today, any system that is more than ten years old is probably behind the times in terms of efficiency.
- Does the current system provide the level of comfort that you want? There is a growing difference between “builder grade” and consumer choice in what a system can offer in terms of comfort and convenience.
- How much will the repairs cost…and how many more repairs will you need in the future? Is keeping an older system operational worth the time, the money and the inconvenience? Sometimes you need to know when to cut bait and say goodbye to your old heater or air conditioner.
Q. Are there any air conditioning systems that are safe for the environment?
Yes. Several manufactures have developed new systems that contain environmentally-friendly refrigerants such as R-410A (also known as Puron). Puron is a chlorine-free coolant that is safe for the Earth’s ozone-layer and delivers superior cooling than traditional refrigerants. In fact, by 2010, systems that use Freon and other refrigerants will be phased out and replaced with Puron-based systems. And by 2020, no more Freon can be manufactured.
Q. How important is air quality and what factors need to be considered?
An air quality system can greatly improve both your comfort and your health. The areas of air quality to consider are (1) purification, (2) filtration, (3) humidity control, and (4) ventilation. A wide number of air quality features come standard with many new heating and air conditioning systems; others can easily be added to existing systems.
Q. What is I.A.Q.?
I.A.Q. stands for Indoor Air Quality. Today, various products are available as add-ons to your existing heating and cooling system to improve the quality and healthiness of the air inside your home. These items include
- Electronic- or Media-Type Air Filters: Filtering the air within your home will help eliminate smoke, pollen, odor, dust mites and allergens. This will allow you to breathe easier, sleep better and enjoy your home more.
- Whole-House Humidifiers: Whole-house humidifiers provide consistent humidity levels throughout the home, and some models even adjust the humidity level automatically. The average heated home has a humidity level of less than 20%. The recommended humidity level in the winter should be between 35% and 45%.
- Air-to-Air Heat-Recovery Ventilators: These ventilator systems remove stale air from inside the home, while bringing in fresh air from the outside that is warmed during the transfer process.
Q. How is the efficiency of heating and cooling equipment measured?
When purchasing a furnace, heat pump or air conditioner, ALWAYS ask about its Efficiency Ratings. They will tell you will tell you how efficiently the unit uses fuel (gas, oil or electricity). The most-frequently used efficiency ratings are:
- SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio): This ratio tells you the amount of cooling your system will deliver per dollar spent on electricity The SEER rating of any unit can range anywhere from 13 to 17. The higher the SEER the more efficient the system will be and the less it will cost in the long run to own and operate.
- HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor): Similar to SEER,it is a measurement of efficiency of the heating portion of a heat pump. HSPF ratings range from 6.8 to 10; high-efficiency units have efficiencies of 7.5 HSPF or above.
- AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency ratio): A measurement of the percent of heat produced by a furnace for every dollar of fuel consumed. The higher the AFUE rating, the lower the fuel costs. All furnaces manufactured today must meet at least 78%. Older furnaces (10 – 15 years or older) may fall below this minimum. Furnaces with AFUE ratings from 78% to 80% are considered mid-efficiency; ones with AFUE ratings above 90% are considered high-efficiency.
- MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value): A filter rating system relating to the size of the holes in the filter that allow air to pass through. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the holes and the higher the efficiency in capturing contaminants. MERV rating range from a low of 1 to a high of 16.
- ENERGY STAR: An Environmental Protection Agency designation attached to HVAC products that meet or exceed guidelines for high-efficiency performance above the standard government minimums.
Q. How can I increase the efficiency and life of my home’s heating and cooling systems?
A few quick tips:
- Clean and replace your filters frequently.
- Your system will heat and cool more evenly when the blower is in the “on” position. The blower provides constant air movement throughout the home, and allows for better filtration.
- Install shades, drapes, shutters, or screens on windows that are exposed to extreme sunlight to keep room temperatures at moderate levels.
Q. Should I close the registers and doors to areas of the home that I do not use on a regular basis?
No. Every system is designed to cool a certain number of square feet. By closing registers and doors in certain rooms, you disrupt and decrease the systems’ airflow and efficiency. Your system will have to work harder to cool less space, making it cycle more and become less efficient.